Monday, December 1, 2014

Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda: Savannah






First glimpse of the Victoria Nile (Source, Lake Victoria)
One fine morning last September, I found myself in the Ugandan Rift Valley, on 'Safari' at Murchison Falls National Park. "Finding" myself there had not been easy, it was a crazy eight hour drive from Kampala, followed by an evening Nile River crossing, to reach the Garden of Eden. 

Nile Crosing
And so I deem it to be, as the African Rift Valley is where our deepest ancestors came down from the trees of the receding forests and emerged onto the savannah.

Murchison Falls National Park, is named after the eponymous falls, contained within its boundaries. It is the oldest of Uganda's National Parks and is located on the last leg of the Victoria Nile, joining Lake Albert. The Nile bisects the park. Wildlife in MFNP is mostly concentrated on the Northern side of the Nile River, and tracks have been developed for visitors such as myself to view wildlife.    
The red earth of Uganda, and Acacia dotted savannah.

I appreciated that this park requires drivers to stay on the track. I was uncomfotable on a previous excursion to a private reserve in South Africa, where drivers used land cruisers to bulldoze through the terrain.


Elephants are not grey, because they 'bathe' in the red earth.

Oxpeckers flock to devour tasty elephant pests, and sometimes the elephant.
There is dispute as to whether this is a mutualistic or parasitic relationship.


An Oribi, a small antelope.


A closer look. Only the males have horns.


There are many Ungulates on the savannah. The Borassaus Palms in the distance
provide food for Elephants, and rely on elephants for seed distribution.




Hartebeest and termite mound. In Uganda, Harbeests are found only in MFNP.


Ugandan Kob


The Kob is Uganda's National Antelope.


Lion in wait for an Ungulate!

African Queen.


African Eagle



Out for a stroll..Lake Albert and the Congo in the background.
These are Rothschild Giraffes, an endangered species. Only a few hundred remain.



Hello!




Acacias are delicious!



I am not so pretty. African Buffalo


Borassus Palm and Cycads.


Francolins, not sure which species. I'm sure they know!




We continue towards Lake Albert Delta


Defassa Waterbuck. I hide in the water to escape predators.























Water Thick-Knee


Walk like an Egyptian Goose



African Wattled Lapwing. The largest African Plover.



The crowning achievement..the Grey Crowned Crane
Uganda's National Bird.







All this and more, thanks to my intrepid driver Noah (from Naturelink Safaris)
and charming MNFP guide Sarah.
Uganda has a great deal to offer the intrepid traveler, and saving what is left of this astounding biodiversity, depends largely upon tourist dollars. If ecological tourism can provide livings for the local population, there will be less pressure from subsistence hunting or clearing land for farming. Should you decide to travel to Uganda, check out http://www.naturelinksafaris.co.ug/. They are a small local tour group, reliable and honest, and they made our visit to Uganda special.

The heart of the wise man lies quiet like limpid water ~Buganda Proverb

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing. Stunning pictures!!!!!! Beautiful place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Luis.. It is indeed the cradle of humanity..I appreciate your commenting!

      Delete
  2. Great, engaging photos. I scrolled back and forth many times, and let my imagination wander. What an experience it must be, to immerse yourself in something so profound.
    I'm reminded that wildlife diversity, unlike densely packed human urban life, is spatially integrated, gracefully arranged.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A beautiful sentence Jack..you have the gift of insight and expression. The journey was a privlege, thanks for taking the time to share it with me!

      Delete